From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Midway through senior year, Camille moves to Atlanta (her family's sixth move). She plans to simply go through the motions until she can escape to Europe after graduation. Meanwhile, at another school in town, Becca is jolted from the dreamlike state of her relationship with Alec when she gets in a fender bender and must find an after-school job to pay back her debt. The girls' lives collide when Camille meets Alec at a party, and, unaware that he is "taken," allows the haiku-spouting-but-athletic catcher to kiss her. At first blush, such a story line has the potential to play up every teen "mean girls" stereotype, yet McVoy elevates the narrative well above any predictable cat fight. Camille tells her side in stream-of-consciousness entries, while Becca speaks in free verse. The girls have distinct, believable voices, and the way in which they slowly become aware of one another rather than facing a direct confrontation shows that given different circumstances they might have been kindred spirits. Literary references and odes to famous poets pepper the pages. These are unobtrusive so that discerning readers will revel in their inclusion while others will skip over them but still enjoy the drama of the story. The result is a poignant tale of two girls on the brink of adulthood faced with real decisions about their future, who they want to be, and what role boys will play in their decisions.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
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"The girls have distinct, believable voices [in After the Kiss
]. A poignant tale of two girls on the brink of adulthood faced with real decisions about their future, who they want to be, and what role boys will play in their decisions." --School Library Journal
* "The poetry is richly allusive, with particular entries smartly and self-consciously modeled on poems by Pablo Neruda, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens among others, and the imagery is often startling with an originality that exhales into a perfect aptness for the experience. This is more than simply a language-lover’s edition of traditional chick-lit fare, however; the back-and-forth interplay of perspectives calibrates the delicate edge between the poignant yearning for intimacy and the psychic need for separation, as Becca grows beyond a need to hold on to a love truly lost, and Camille lets go of the fear that’s driving her away from a love that might have a chance." --The Bulletin
, starred review
"Vivid." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A love of language, literature, and the city of Atlanta, where [McVoy] lives, pervades her sophomore novel, a thoughtfully wrought coming-of-age story....McVoy's prose is confident and adventurous....A fresh, observant story."